“We are going to have an election,” Malloy said. “We will take whatever steps are necessary. We are in communication with the secretary of state’s office on a regular basis; we are getting information about whether, which, if any voting places won’t be open. We’re waiving rules if we need to consolidate, but we will coordinate that with jurisdictions.”
Con Edison, which provides power to New York City and Westchester County, N.Y., plans to restore most of the power system by the weekend after the elections, leaving it likely that polling places will need to have backup systems in place.
“In areas served by overhead electrical distribution equipment, crews have had to contend with more than 100,000 downed wires, as well as blocked roads and flooding,” the company said.
In New York City, Sandy delayed the distribution of some absentee ballots, which will be sent by overnight mail. State officials in Albany extended the deadline for absentee ballot applications by mail to Friday.
A spokesman for the state’s Board of Elections said polling places could operate without power for the optical scan voting machines. In that case, ballots would be put into a secure box and scanned into the system at another location. The spokesman said local election officials are still assessing the structural integrity and accessibility of many polling places. Any move to relocate sites could be made at the county level.
The size and scope of the historic storm could be seen as far away as the presidential battleground of Ohio, where almost a quarter of a million customers lost power in the northeastern part of the state, but Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) does not foresee trouble there.
“We’ve not had any instances of disruption in Postal Service delivery as it relates to our ballots in Ohio,” Husted said on CNBC. “Early voting is going well, people are turning out early — which means that that lessens the likelihood that there could be lines at the polls on Election Day.”
Joshua Miller and Abby Livingston contributed to this report.